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Monday, June 4, 2012

Grab Your Pony and Ride

Raelyn Barclay mentioned casually on her blog that her mother was a nurse. That little piece of information fascinated me, and I wondered if she ever considered it too.

Every so often I ponder what else I'd like to do with my life. There will never be a life long enough to accomplish all I want, so as I teeter closer to the end than the beginning, I become more and more particular about how I spend my time.

I've been plotting my life's journey since I was a kid. Back then I even wrote down a list of goals, steadfast in my belief that each should occur by a certain age. (Oh, young Maria! You were so naïve.)

Every goal I pined for and put on my little list, I enjoyed. I loved the work. I loved the challenge. But most of all, I loved the ride. You only get one ride on this pony of life and I wanted each step of the way to be worthwhile and fun.

Some goals I set and attained effortlessly. Like becoming a graphic artist.

Others jumped up out of nowhere and smacked me on the head. That's how I became a writer.

I never expected to be married, yet I married young. I never expected to move across the country, yet that casual decision has taken me on more adventures than I could imagine. 

Life's funny that way. No matter how meticulous your goals, Fate has a way of turning your nicely ordered life into a maze of possibilities.

Big goals. Little goals. It makes no difference. Even the smallest benchmark can create major turning points in your life.

I'd like to do some teaching at some point before my time is through--just to be able to pass on what I've learned. Not in a stuffy college, but a hands-on kind of situation where I can talk with people one-on-one. Maybe speaking engagements. Maybe a workshop. For now it's a far off dream, but it's on my punch list.

What's something you'd like to accomplish in this lifetime? What would you put on your list if life gave you a do-over? And out of curiosity...did you ever follow in the footsteps of either parent?

37 comments:

Jennifer Shirk said...

It is funny how goals change. I didn't think I get married until I was 30. But then I got married at 24. I thought pharmacy was all that and even wanted to get my doctorate Then dropped out when I got pregnant and then never went back to work. LOL
No, I'm not like either of my parents-- or my siblings for that matter!:)

Renee Miller said...

I think it's more than a coincidence that you wrote about this today, Maria. I've been thinking the same thing recently because my dad is really sick. This morning he called me, and he said that his friend gave him a boat. I was like "Who just gives someone a boat?" He explained that he'd always wanted to take Court (my oldest daughter) fishing, but couldn't afford the time or the damn boat to do it. A long time ago, he'd mentioned that he wanted to spend a summer with her teaching her about boats, fishing and whatnot to this friend. When the friend found out that Dad's time was limited, he decided he didn't need the boat as much as Dad did. And he just gave it to him.

Watching my dad try to scratch the "I wish I'd done..." type things from his list, I've evaluated my own. My list is pretty damn selfish. I've had a lot of goals. God, more than I could ever keep track of to be honest. But the ones that matter seem to get bumped down.

Now the goal is just to enjoy the ride, as you mentioned. It would be nice to see some goals realized, but the ones I've accomplished are pretty sweet already and the ride has been bumpy, but awesome.

I did follow in my parents' footsteps for a bit, until they shook me out of that insanity.

Stacy McKitrick said...

The one thing I'd like to accomplish is to sky-dive one time. It's something I wanted to do since I was young (of which my mother told me never to tell her when I did it - she just didn't want to know).

I guess I sort of followed in my mother's footsteps. Although I joined the Army (neither parent were in the service), I worked as a clerk-typist (she was a typist - medical transcriber, legal secretary, etc.). Now I'm in accounting (and she did bookkeeping at one time) and I write (her artistic output is in knitting).

Krista D. Ball said...

My 13 year old stepson will graduate high school when he's only 17. He's already not impressed with the idea of going to university at 17 and will have a full semester finished before he's 18.

So he's been planning to go pick fruit or serve coffee in Europe or Australia for half a year.

It's a great goal. The only trouble is that he seems to have forgotten how that will be paid for. >>sidelong glance at my bank account<<

Clarissa Draper said...

I never wanted to be a writer and yet that was what I became. I would love to travel to Europe and write there. However, I'd be satisfied if I published five or more books before I die.

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: Now that I've got a few 'adult' decades to look back upon, it does seems ironic that the things I thought were important were just fleeting fancies.

Maria Zannini said...

Renee: Death has a way of making us reevaluate our choices. It's a shame that it usually takes that kind of jolt to wake us up.

I'm rather impressed with your dad's friend. What a fine person he is to see beyond his own needs and look to others. I hope karma rewards his kindness. And I hope your dad and Court enjoy those fishing trips. He'll be giving her memories to last a lifetime.

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: LOL! Greg once wanted to skydive. Then one day he decided he'd rather not bail out of a perfectly good airplane and took up flying instead.

Krista: Maybe before he goes to Europe, he might consider getting a job to pay for that trip. I'll be he'll savor it even more.

Clarissa: Europe would be wonderful for any reason!

Rula Sinara said...

I'm a believer that no one has to stick with one career their entire life. Time changes. Life changes. I've changed careers and have had jobs in many different areas...the only constant with it all was writing. That's something I've done since childhood.

As for parents, my mom wanted me to be a dentist because that was her unaccomplished goal. I even started college pre-dent...but gained the courage to switch majors by the end of first year. I still don't like going to the dentist lol.

Julie said...

For the longest time I never set goals and just kind of stumbled my way through life. I regret that now, but I'm hoping to make up for lost time. My biggest goal now is to be successful as a writer. I love your line about grabbing the pony and riding!

Sarah Ahiers said...

I'd like to have a kid at some point. I told myself to not worry about it for the next 4 years, though.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Maybe you should start a community farm where you teach people how to grow their own food? Or invite select groups to your own homestead where you teach them how to do it (and then they have to go get a hotel room. ^_^)

I didn't follow in either of my parents' footsteps. As for goals, I'd like to do writing workshops some day.

Melissa McClone said...

I thought I'd get married early. I didn't until I was 30. A Do Over would be to get more serious about my writing sooner. I was young when I decided to write a romance and preferred having my own real life romances and just tinkered with the writing for years. As soon as I got serious, everything fell together.

And except for marrying and becoming a parent, I haven't followed in my parents footsteps.

Angela Brown said...

I could see you running a half-day workshop, once a month, for the frugal life. People coming to see you for hands-on training of ways to life frugal yet be happy in all their frugality.

As for myself, my mother, rest her soul, often told me she wanted better for me than she'd accomplished herself. I know our lives weren't anyting to write about in Vogue, but she managed to somehow raise three kids, by herslef, worked hard where others worked the system, enstilled work ethics that have stayed with me, and I hope to pass on as well. Her job wasn't Hollywood, but she seemed to like working for her bank. Because I was so set on doing what I could to have her set for life, I can honestly say I would have taken a different path if she'd remained alive. Not sure if I'd be happier or not, but I hoped to be a beast in the business world. Now, I'm more focused on my creativity and pray that my writing will lead to something more positive in my future.

LD Masterson said...

Hmmm. I don't think I ever made a list but there are a few things that were always floating out there. I wanted to learn to ride. I mean ride well, not just sit on a horse and hang on. Never did that. No interest in skydiving but a hot air balloon would be cool. My career path sort of just happened and I went along for the ride.

Jayne said...

Oh - author, author, author! In a way there is so much I've yet to achieve, that I want to accomplish, and it frightens me how slow I am being when the world turns so quickly.

As for my folks - no - I haven't followed in their professions. I was always the creative one, a bit of a cuckoo in the nest. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Rula: I've often wondered if dentists are afraid of seeing the dentist. Yours is as close to an answer as I'll ever get.

Julie: I blame my list making to an obsessive-compulsive gene. Hubby is my exact opposite. He never made lists, yet he turned out okay too. :)

Sarah: I regret not having grandchildren--but I'm told first I had to have children first and that seemed like too much work. ;-)

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: I'm still toying with the idea of doing a writing retreat. A friend of mine is going to one for a week. I was surprised how much they charged for a week's stay--just to write with other people.

Melissa: It seems the thing we loved doing most is often times the thing we put off until last. I would've become an archeologist (while all my body parts were still functioning).

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: Your mother's story fascinates me. There are so many unsung heroes in our world. I get a little ticked off when people of negligible talent or honor get the accolades and attention while real people with real accomplishments go unnoticed. I would've loved to have met your mother.

Linda: Now this surprises me. I would've thought you'd have been someone with a mile long list.

Jayne: I hear ya! But then I cheer myself up knowing that I may have accomplished something more slowly than others, but at least I do it well.

Shelley Munro said...

Maria,

I think you'd make an awesome teacher. I think your workshops would be great :)

My mother was a teacher while my father is a farmer. I applied for teacher's college at one stage but they rejected me. In hindsight that was the best thing ever. I doubt I would have managed to travel as much if I'd become a teacher.

If I had my time over I'd probably go into the travel industry. I think I'm good at it! As for future goals, I want to stay as active as possible and enjoy each day to come. Simple stuff.

L.G.Smith said...

Boring answer, but I'm still hoping to get published some day. I've had a lot of jobs, but writing was always the one constant humming quietly in the background. If I were to do things over, I'd have concentrated harder on learning the craft of writing when I was younger. I was much too passive about it, but then again I tend to believe things happen the way they are supposed to for the most part. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Shelley: I don't know. It would have to be with adults who REALLY want to learn. I'm a rather exacting teacher.

LG: I've always felt this too. Things happen when they should, and not before.

James Garcia Jr. said...

You know, Maria, my dear friend, my list has nothing on it. Oh sure, we'd like to go to Europe and Washington D.C., But since having my debut novel published, there is no other pressing life-changing thing that I need.
I spent my teenage years up to age 38 or so, dreaming that I could be a published author. I had give up hope that it would ever happen...until I decided to sweep regret out of the way and give it one last chance. I should have another book published this year, and I just finished the rough draft on a third book, but even if I never publish another thing, I could still go to my just reward without regret.

-Jimmy

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I often wondered what it would feel like to accomplish that ONE thing that would make me feel fulfilled. I'm afraid there's too much Don Quixote in me. Congrats on reaching your dreams!

Angela Felsted said...

I can't tell you how many do overs I wish I could take. But I'm grateful at least that I learned stuff from being derailed so often. And you're right, where one door closes another opens. Life is funny that way.

Mike Keyton said...

Maria, the biggest adventure is yet to come!

Nadja Notariani said...

How true! My life has taken so many twists and turns, things I never expected. But it's been an adventure I wouldn't dream to change.

Hmmm. Something I still want to do but haven't as of yet?
I can't say. Right now, I'm where I want to be. I'm writing romance novels, branching out into sub-genres and exploring with glee, teaching on the subject of the Jewishness of Jesus and the Bible, mothering grown daughters and managing three sons, and just plain enjoying this season of life. I'm sure the bug will bite me at some point, but for now, I'm content. Ha!

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: My only regret is that once you know how the game is played, you're too old to have fun at it. :)

Mike: Since you're a few years older than me, I'm assuming you speak from experience?

Nadja: I think parents have an extra chance at accomplishment just by raising their children to be fine upstanding adults.

Raelyn Barclay said...

LOL, the things that start the ol' thoughts churning.

And I think you'd be a fab teacher!!

What's something you'd like to accomplish in this lifetime? Hmmm...I'm not sure. Raising four boys to be upstanding and caring men is pretty much it at the moment :)

What would you put on your list if life gave you a do-over? Travel more.

And out of curiosity...did you ever follow in the footsteps of either parent? No, though I have worked with and for my father.

That Man followed in his father's footsteps. For years people asked him if he was FIL's son. Now, FIL gets asked if he's That Man's father :) Love how the tables have turned.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: I wish I had traveled more when I was younger. It's a heck of a lot of hassle nowadays.

Shirley Wells said...

Wow. What a thought provoking post, Maria.

I keep saying I want to be a successful photographer when I grow up - then I realise I've grown up (sort of). Writer was never on my list of things I must do. I just stumbled into that one.

I really want to a travel a lot more...

Isis Rushdan said...

Teaching is such a noble profession. I think it's natural for our goals to change as we change.

I'm grateful I realized writing is my true passion at this stage in my life.

Maria Zannini said...

Isis: I'm glad my goals matured with me. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Shirley: Travel is at the top of my list too. So many places to see. So many people to meet.

Margaret M. Fisk said...

Being good and coming here to comment :). Look into the local writers or genre conventions in your area. They are often happy to take authors for panelists or to give workshops :). Or offer one to Muse Online Writers Conference. It's not in person, but it sure is hands on.

Maria Zannini said...

Margaret: It's a bit of a drive to do "local", considering where I live now, but there are a couple of nice venues in Dallas. I suppose now's the time to inquire if I want to do anything next year. Thanks.

Margaret M. Fisk said...

Yr welcome. And I hear you. I now have to drive about 6 hours, depending on traffic, to do BayCon, but it's worth the effort.